26552863_sA sprain or strain is a soft tissue injury, and when this type of damage happens in the neck, it is called whiplash. Individuals in Illinois who are in automobile crashes frequently experience the condition due to the sudden stretching and bending of the neck. Injuries often include damage to the joints, discs, muscles and nerves. It is critical for a person who is in a motor vehicle accident to seek treatment, even when the injury does not appear to be significant at first. Symptoms may be present immediately after the injury, or may not show up for several days afterward. When pain signals continue in the nervous system for six months or longer, the pain is considered chronic.

Symptoms of whiplash vary

There are many different symptoms of whiplash, and some of them may not seem related to the neck injury. Stiffness, headache, shoulder and back pain are common, but so are cognitive and mental issues, including the following:

  • Memory loss
  • Impaired concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

A doctor may prescribe pain medications, muscle relaxants, applied heat and a cervical collar for the first two or three weeks, and the patient may need physical therapy, as well. With treatment, an individual can expect whiplash effects to clear within a few days, or possibly weeks, after the car accident. Although most have a full recovery after three months, some continue to experience neck pain and headaches.

Symptoms of chronic pain vary

Although the sources of chronic pain are not all the same, it is common for them to begin with a trauma or injury such as whiplash. Chronic pain symptoms may include mild to severe pain that shoots, burns, aches or tingles. The toll that the pain takes on the emotions can exacerbate the pain, increasing anxiety, stress, depression, anger or other emotional symptoms. Treatment should include the psychological aspects of the problem, as well as the physical. Chronic pain may also compromise the immune system, which has the potential to expose the patient to an increase in poor health problems, including decreasing the production of the body’s natural painkillers. If pain management and other techniques do not decrease severe symptoms, it can lead to disability.

Chronic pain affects approximately 100 million people in the United States. Individuals who have developed it as a result of whiplash caused by a crash may be eligible to receive compensation for pain and suffering, and should speak to an attorney familiar with the personal injury laws in the state of Illinois.

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